Q3 2021: Third Quarterly Report of My Bicycling and Other Habits

Now that we’re 90 days from the end of 2021, it’s time for my third quarterly report. July, August and September are the hottest months in Texas, and that heat and stupidity tend to slow most dudes and dudettes down. (I meant humidity, which with the heat tends to make one stupid.) But, I never claimed to be smart, so I have gone on a bicycle ride every single day of the pandemic (and for a while before that). Regular readers know I’m like only 50% of that Cake lyric: “He’s going for distance, he’s (not) going for speed.” On top of that, I take a walk, do yoga, and got myself into some other daily activities, practices aka habits. Sure, it was stupid hot (though not as bad as last year), and I do not bike fast. However, although I don’t get a cent from it, you could say I’m in the bicycle riding business. And business is good.

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3,002 Miles Bicycled in 2021… So Far!

Tonight’s ride was a modest 10 miles, but it pushed me over 3,000. Round numbers make nice milestones — in my case, literally. Normally I do statistics at the beginning of a new month for the one proceeding. But this marker seemed worthy of a post. For one thing, it is a number that tells me I will have probably ridden my bike more than driven the car I was given in the last year. There’s something to be said for doing what one can to reduce one’s carbon footprint, given the very real and scientific consensus that climate change is killing the planet. (Naysayers can go put on their tin foil hats elsewhere like with the flat earthers.) Of course 15+ years with no car was better. But I digress. I may be slowing but I still manage to ride my bike. If you also bike, you know it’s fun. If you don’t, you should try it! Do you konw what’s also fun? Looking at my biking numbers.

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MEDIA ALERT: Introducing Strava S.O.F.T.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (1 April, 2021, San Francisco, CA): The leading fitness tracker for running, cycling and dozens of other sports, Strava, announces the next exciting step in their technology’s evolution. The global coronavirus pandemic that began in 2020 and continues into 2021 showed that exercise enthusiasts would not be deterred from achieving their fitness and sporting goals (to the extent allowed by local health code). More people got outside and got moving than in other any year since the product’s launch in 2009 for both their physical and mental health.

Obviously, the other major force that has reshaped society in the USA and abroad in the last year is the quest for racial justice and police accountability. In keeping with both these movements toward a healthier and more just society, Strava is releasing a parallel version of their software called Strava S.O.F.T. — Slow, Old, Fat, Tired. This change is a major step forward to make the fitness world more inclusive of our many speed-challenged, mature, differently-sized, and fatigued athletes. At Strava (which means strive in Swedish), we pride ourselves on meeting challenges just like our 70 million customers do in the app. Strava S.O.F.T. is the next wave of exercise and a key to the future of sport itself!

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16 Months of Consecutive Daily Bicyling

It’s that time of the month, again. The 11th, that is, which is when I began biking every single day back in October of 2019. For some reason, I cain’t quit you, bicycling. That streak will be tested Monday, when we might see the coldest temperatures in a decade and three to five inches of snow — in Austin, Texas. I may have to pull out the old metal home trainer stand and do my 14.3 miles* in the relative warmth of the inside. I say relative because this house leaks air like the White House press office, and the space heaters can’t keep up. Anyway, the miles add up, although at a slower pace than last year. That’s thanks to having a smaller goal, a niggling injury, and my old frequent friend, fatigue. Plus, the cold does slow one down. Don’t get me started on how my body seems unable to handle cold very well anymore, for whatever mysterious reason. Still, I bike, because, well, you know: a dude abikes.

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46 > 45: President Biden Bicycles and Has a Peloton; That’s Good for U.S.

January 20, 2021 was historic for several reasons. The biggest was was that only two weeks ago democracy itself was under attack. Throngs of right-wingers, egged on by the now-ex-resident of the White House, Tinyhands Orangehead, stormed the US Capitol and five people died. So having the traditional peaceful transfer of administrations was a big deal this time. Now that our long national nightmare is over (well, at least one of them), we can hopefully get back to politics as boring. But also, the highest ranking woman ever ascended to become Vice President. Kamala Harris happens to be Black and of South Asian descent, and representation matters. Whether or not one agrees with their policies, relevant to this blog’s main theme is that we can hope that 46th President Joe Biden will be good for American bicyclists… not to mention, the planet.

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5 Years of Using the Strava Fitness App

Late in December 2015, I finally got a cell phone. At the same time, a cycling friend said I had to get Strava (strive in Swedish). I’d never heard of it, but figured why not. So the friend and I met for a ride, and I started recording all of my bike journeys ever since. At that time, I had to use the phone because I didn’t have a Garmin watch. Without Strava, or some other similar situation, I would not really know how far I’ve gone, and all the other data it captures. And man, have I gone far (better than being far gone). I mean, if you consider my having biked the equivalent of around the entire planet at the equator as far. I sure think 24,901 miles is a good, far piece. And what a long, strange trip it’s been.

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611.8 Miles in November 2020. Oh Yeah: 5,999.9 Miles in 11 Months of 2020!

Penultimate. I used to think that meant a really great writing instrument. (Actually, I didn’t; I just made up that pun right now.) Anyway, November has ended, and December has begun. Eleven months down, one to go. I’ve already surpassed the number of miles from my second longest year, the first one I kept records. That was 5,306 miles in 2016, and now I’m on the cusp of 6,000 miles for 2020. Since I’ve already achieved my huge goal of the equivalent of once around the equator (24,901 miles), anything else is gravy. Yummmm…. gravy. Anyway, here’s a short review of my statistics from last month.

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Bicycle Night Ride with a Friend in Austin, Texas

Autumn in Austin has been pretty spectacular thus far. Little rain, warm temperatures, and sunny skies. While the dryness isn’t good for plants or the water supply, it is good for bicycling. As the coronavirus pandemic continues for the eighth month (stay at home shelter orders began here in March), getting outside for some fresh air and sunshine have been essential for staying healthy and sane. Most of my rides are solo, but I’ve had the good fortune of being joined by several friends. One such ride the other night was fairly routine for me but pretty good for one of my dudes.

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Charity Cycling and Coronavirus: The Mamma Jamma Challenge 9/12-9/19/20

With the global pandemic of the coronavirus showing no signs of ending anytime soon, those with other illnesses like HIV/AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis still need support perhaps more than ever. One way this is achieved is through fundraising bike rides. A Dude was privileged to ride in half a dozen charity rides, raising $12,000 total over the six events. But nowadays getting people together to breathe hard, even outside, is problematic — especially for the immuno-compromised. Most charity rides have had to go virtual. This week, September 12-19, the good folks at the Texas Mamma Jamma Ride are having people ride bikes and do other activities and record them on Strava, the fitness app, while still raising funds for the one in eight women who get diagnosed with breast cancer.

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622 Miles Biked in July 2020: This Dude Is on Fiyah!

Alright, alright, alright. I don’t literally mean on fire. But it is a quote from Matthew McConaghey as Woody Wooderson in the Austin-area film Dazed and Confused. Matt is apparently one hell of a dude, citizen, University of Texas at Austin professor (really!), and he happens to live up the highway from me. Oh yeah, I guess he won an Oscar or something for acting in Dallas Buyers Club. That’s all a seque, because alright is how I performed on the bicycle in July of 2020.

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